Stuck at a Stop Light?

Have you ever heard of Idaho's "Dead Red" law? It's basically your get-of-jail-free-card when you're stuck at a stop light that won't change from red to green.

Detailed in Idaho Code § 49-802, if you're sitting at a red and unresponsive stop light, you can legally treat that red light as if it's a stop sign.

If the signal fails to operate after one cycle of the traffic signal, the driver may proceed after exercising due caution and care. -Section 49-802, Chapter 8

It seems simple, but it's nothing to take lightly. The liability falls squarely on your shoulders in the event of an accident. Because of this, it's imperative that you yield the right-of-way to anyone else on the road or pedestrians crossing the intersection.

The Danger of the Dead Red Law

Although it's designed to address unresponsive traffic signals, Idaho's Dead Red Law carries its own set of dangers.
As previously mentioned, it places significant responsibility on a driver to assess whether it's safe to proceed through a red light. It's a highly subjective judgment can vary greatly from one driver to another, resulting in inconsistency and confusion on the road.
If drivers misjudge a situation, it could increase the risk of accidents, especially at complex intersections. Additionally, the law's uniqueness in Idaho may create confusion for out-of-state drivers who are unaware of its provisions, further complicating the traffic dynamics.
Well-intentioned as it is, the Dead Red law's reliance on driver discretion can introduce safety hazards and liability risks many drivers are unprepared to deal with.
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